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Yankee Institute FOIs Personal Attendant List

by Hugh McQuaid | Jan 12, 2012 6:30am
(5) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Labor, Legal

The Yankee Institute requested a list of personal attendants from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office Wednesday following a statement from the administration last week saying the names were already available on the group’s website.

In requesting the names, the conservative public policy think tank joins Sen. Joseph Markley, R- Southington, and Rep. Rob Sampson, R- Wolcott, in seeking to reverse two controversial executive orders by Malloy.

The orders provide a pathway to unionization for personal care attendants and daycare workers who receive funding from state programs. The daycare workers voted last month to allow CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 to represent them in negotiations with the state. The union has been awaiting a list of eligible attendants to send information to.

Criticized for planning to release the list, the governor’s office said the names couldn’t be withheld under the state’s freedom of information laws and were already public on the institute’s searchable database of state employees and state vendors.

Nonetheless, Fergus Cullen, the group’s executive director, requested the list saying, “If the list of personal care attendees is public information available to the unions, it should also be available to the Yankee Institute.”

Like Sampson and Markley, Cullen promised to fight what he called “a forced unionization scheme.”

That’s not how the Malloy administration sees it. In an email, Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior communications adviser, said the Yankee Institute is opposed to the idea of the personal care attendants unionizing because they are a right-wing group, funded by special interests and pursuing a conservative agenda.

“That’s who they are. That’s why they portray hard-working people who don’t make much money, and who do jobs none of us have ever done, as not being deserving of having the right to organize and bargain collectively for their wages and benefits,” he said.

Occhiogrosso said all Malloy’s executive order does is give the attendants the right to collectively bargain, if they decide they want that. 

Cullen said no one asked for the right to unionize and characterized the orders as scheme to increase membership dues and the money available to push the union’s political agenda.

“No one has been clamoring for a union among personal care attendants. It’s part of a strategy on the left involving unionizing people who heretofore hadn’t even considered it,” he said, likening the process to being drafted into the Army.

Occhiogrosso said the list would be provided to the institute, thought its unclear why they would want information already available on their website.

“...they’ve submitted a Freedom of Information request (for the information they already have), and this administration will of course comply with that request (to give them information they already have),” he said.

Cullen said the information he’s looking for is different in that he wants the exact list of names and all the information that has been compiled for the union by the Department of Social Services and a workforce council Malloy created.

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(5) Comments

posted by: ... | January 12, 2012  9:52am


Well Yankee Institute wants the spotlight for another 15 mins. That’s the main reason they make a request for something they can already get and already have.

posted by: waniac | January 12, 2012  11:02am

It now becomes obvious why the concession talks between the unions and the Malloy administration were held behind closed doors. You scratch my back, I’ll open up a pool of new dues payers to you. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

posted by: Noteworthy | January 12, 2012  1:53pm

The characterization of the Yankee Institute by Roy Occhiogrosso is unnecessary and classless. Why not simply say the governor’s office will comply with the FOIA request and leave it at that? The use of the term “right wing” is designed to denigrate and put down the Institute in general and their specific request. Further mis-characterizing the request as portraying attendants not deserving of a right to bargain and join a union is deceptive, misleading and dishonest.

Frankly, it appears Malloy is steering workers into the union’s folds as a payback, and the result will be increased costs to the state which is me and my family. As we are already in the midst of a $3 billion tax increase, that doesn’t seem like such a hot idea.

That aside, Occhiogrosso’s commentary is unnecessary. It does a disservice to the state, to taxpayers everywhere. I expect nothing but the truth, and straight commentary from the governor’s office and his overpriced spokespersons. If they can’t give it, get off my payroll.

posted by: Stephen Mendelsohn | January 12, 2012  6:27pm

sent this morning by e-mail, citing this article:

Dear Mr. Occhoigrosso,

  In the above CT News Junkie article, you claim that opposition to unionization of personal care attendants is motivated by a “right wing” and “special interest” agenda.  As a disability advocate, an autistic adult, and co-administrator of the Facebook group, Stop the SEIU from Hijacking Care Providers in Connecticut, I would like to inform you that the principal opposition to SEIU’s unionization efforts has come from the primary stakeholders—PCAs and their employers with disabilities, who have opposed unionization since this issue first came before the General Assembly in 2009.  Cathy Ludlum, who co-administers our Facebook group, has been at the forefront of opposition to Executive Order 10 and SEIU, along with her entourage of PCAs.  We have repeatedly come to the Capitol to make our case, and have not been included from the process by the Malloy administration, which views the stakeholders as DSS, DDS, OPM, and 1199SEIU, to the exclusion of PCAs or employers with disabilities.

  Cathy Ludlum and I want to invite you, or anyone else in the Malloy administration involved with Executive Order 10, to a respectful discussion of this important issue in a public forum.  The public has a right to a full airing of the issues surrounding unionization of PCAs from all sides.  Bring your friends from SEIU and the media if you choose.  Only through honest and respectful discussion will we be able to arrive at a greater understanding.  If you decline, I can only conclude that you are content to throw mud from the shadows rather than open your mind to a perspective that may be different from yours.

  I look forward to your response.

Sincerely yours,
Stephen Mendelsohn
Stop the SEIU from Hijacking Care Providers in Connecticut

posted by: NOW What? | January 16, 2012  6:01am

Aside from the fundamental issues behind this situation, I have to say that this Cullen guy’s double-talking hypocrisy is finally becoming much more obvious to people other than just myself. For YEARS he publicly claimed that he, his father and their Yankee Institute “think tank” did not get involved in the State’s politics and/or labor issues but that they merely professed admittedly conservative viewpoints “based” on barely legitimate (and sometimes totally non-existent) “research” and/or others’ position papers… to the point that Trinity College no longer desired their presence on their campus. Well, I guess at least he’s *now* becoming more clearly self-revealing…